How to Write a Final Draft
The final draft of a paper is a written piece that you will hand in as your best effort. Therefore, students should attach considerable importance to writing the final version of their papers because this is their last opportunity to correct any remaining errors and improve their written work.
The Steps Involved in Writing an Essay’s Final Draft
Once you have completed the draft of your paper, have a break. This draft will need revising another three times at least until it is in good order so it makes sense to have a rest for a while before beginning to work on your final version. You should also run a spell check on this second draft and you should review it for typos, incorrectly spelled words, incorrect punctuation, and unintentional repetition. It is also important to check the grammar at this stage. This is a step you need to be very careful with because grammar errors are not always as obvious as spelling mistakes. A grammar check involves correcting issues with noun-verb agreements, excessive use of passive voice, dangling participles, parallel constructions, etc. After the language in your paper has been thoroughly checked, you can turn your attention to the technical elements. This category includes checking title pages, reference lists, in-text citation, formatting style, and similar aspects. You need to make entirely sure every element meets your tutor’s or publisher’s requirements. Your entire piece will need revising one more time. Because this is the final time you will read back over your work with the aim of making corrections, you need to be even more attentive in checking the smallest details. The structure of your paper will need to be evaluated along with the credibility and organization of your arguments. Check that there are suitable transitions between each paragraph and pay particular attention to style, syntax, punctuation, and grammar.
Main Points for Consideration
If you read your paper’s final draft aloud, you will have the opportunity to look afresh at your written work. It is often easier to notice weaknesses when you hear them. You should use your own words when writing essays and papers with the exception of when you are citing extracts from other texts. It is highly recommended you show how well you understand an issue, even if this is not correct, rather than embed your own ideas in the words of other authors. The final draft of your paper is your one last opportunity to eliminate any trace of plagiarism. There is nothing wrong with using a computer spell-checker to proofread your text since these programs can automatically check grammar and spelling. Nonetheless, it is advisable to proofread your work again yourself after your computer’s spell check is complete to eliminate any mistakes your computer may have missed.
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Dos and Don’ts
What You Should Do
- Check that your central thesis statement is written and that it includes all your main ideas. Check, too, that your introductory paragraph is sufficiently interesting to get readers hooked.
- Check that each paragraph presents a new idea. It is essential you do not cram several ideas into a single paragraph. Make sure that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence setting out the main point or idea for that paragraph.
- Evaluate your research materials and evidence. There should be a sufficient amount of this, but your paper should not be overloaded with excessive facts.
What You Should Not Do
- Do not read your text on your computer or laptop screen. Once you have used your computer to spell-check it, print a copy and proofread from this copy. Text is easier to see on paper.
- Do not depend too heavily on computer-based grammar and spell-checking software. While these tools help with proofreading, they are certainly not perfect and sometimes they miss simple errors.
- Proofreading should not be left until the eleventh hour. Allow sufficient time for thorough revision because this is likely to be the version you will submit.
- Do not hesitate to hand your final paper to a colleague or other person to proofread. Someone who has not previously seen your written work will be seeing it afresh, and are likely to spot any errors or flaws you overlooked.
Frequent Mistakes in Final Drafts
- References are not complete. It is common for students to rush when writing their final drafts so that they can get projects finished. Therefore, they do not pay sufficient attention to reference lists and in-text citation.
- Not spelling or writing abbreviated terms in full. Abbreviated names and terms should be written in full before the abbreviations are used.
- Failure to explain what unusual words mean. A student may use terms with special meaning but not remember to explain them. These terms might not be picked up by spell-checkers and the student might forget them when they are proofreading, especially if they are correctly spelled.